Nov. 28, 2012
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana women's basketball team came out with its sixth-straight win on Wednesday night against Clemson in the ACC/Big Ten Ten Challenge, 52-49. IU's Aulani Sinclair led the way with 23 points, scoring 18 of those in the first half.
Indiana (6-1) was the first to score, but Clemson (0-6) took an 8-4 lead using a 6-0 run to jump ahead of the Hoosiers early. The Tigers later built their lead to 26-16 after Nyilah Jamison-Myers hit a layup with just over five minutes remaining in the half.
The Hoosier defense then began to bear down holding Clemson without a field goal for the final 5:10 of the half and putting together an 11-3 run to make it a 29-27 Tiger lead at the break thanks to Sinclair's 18 first half points.
"In our offense, I just attacked and they were hedging very hard," Sinclair said of her successful first half. "I looked for our posts if they were open and I just attacked their big off the hedge and it led to a lot of open shots for me."
It was only the second time this season that IU did not lead heading into halftime.
Indiana began the second half with the ball and Linda Rubene tied the game at 29-29 with a pass from Sinclair for a layup. After that, the Hoosiers struggled from the field and went nearly five minutes without a field goal.
With 14:41 to play, Sasha Chaplin ended the drought with a basket. Clemson then went on a 7-1 run and with just under 12 minutes to play, the Tigers led, 42-34.
IU began a 10-0 run when Sinclair hit a free throw and later followed with a field goal at the 10:42 mark. Nicole Bell hit a 3-pointer to bring the Hoosiers to within two points and Quaneisha McCurty then tied the game at 42-42 by slipping a ball screen to finish at the rim thanks to a Jasmine McGhee pass. Simone Deloach followed with 4:05 to go with a layup to give Indiana its first lead since the 10:31 mark of the first half.
IU and Clemson were tied at 45-45 when IU went on a 5-0 run led by Sinclair and McGhee. Clemson's Danaejah Grant nailed a shot from behind the arc with 23 seconds to play, bringing the Tigers to within two points, 50-48. Rubene nailed down the coffin for Indiana with a lay in with just six seconds to play.
"The team kept battling, fighting and believed in each other to make just enough plays to win tonight," head coach Curt Miller said. "I don't think they would have done that a few months ago when we started working with them. We weren't perfect tonight, be we hung together and we got contributions from a lot of people down the stretch and made one more play than Clemson did."
Sinclair scored in double-figures for the seventh time this season, shooting 7-for-14 from the field to go along with six rebounds and two assists.
Quaneisha McCurty had a huge night defensively, tying a career-high with six blocks and added a steal, four rebounds and five points.
For the fifth straight game, IU held its opponent to under 50 points. Clemson shot just 24.7 percent from the floor and 18.2 percent (4-for-22) from beyond the arc.
"To match the win total from last year in November and to match the win total from last year in seven games, it is an exciting start for that locker room," Miller said. "No one can take this win away from us, no one can take the six game win streak away from us and no one can tell us that we haven't matched our win total in all of last year in November."
The Hoosiers will next take on Cleveland State this Sunday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m. in Assembly Hall.
With the win, Indiana improves to 6-1 on the season, the best start through seven games for a Hoosier team since 2006-07, when IU started 6-1 that year.
Indiana won its sixth-straight game, a program first since the 2008-09 season when IU won nine-consecutive games from Nov. 25, 2008-Jan. 4, 2009.
For the fifth time in as many games, IU held an opponent to under 50 points. It marks the longest such streak since the 1973-74 season when the Hoosiers held five-straight opponents to under 50 during that campaign.
The Indiana defense held Clemson to just 24.7 percent shooting from the floor, the lowest shooting percentage for an IU opponent this season. It marks the second time this year that the Hoosiers have held a team under 30 percent shooting for a game (Indiana State, 29.5 percent).
In each of Indiana's wins, the Hoosier defense has held opponents to 33.3 percent or lower from the field.
IU held the Tigers to just 18.2 percent (4-for-22) shooting from 3-point range, a season low for an opponent. It is the second-straight game in which IU has held its opponent to 19.0 percent or lower from beyond the arc.
As a team, Indiana had 10 blocks in the game, a season high. It's the first time an IU team has swatted 10 shots in a game since hitting that mark on Nov. 19, 2004, at Baylor.
Aulani Sinclair tied her season high with 23 points to lead all scorers, shooting 7-for-14 from the field. She also had six rebounds and two assists.
Quaneisha McCurty tied her career high of six blocks in the game. She had six blocks last season against Colorado State on Dec. 21, 2011. The sophomore also had five points, four rebounds and a steal.
McCurty's six blocks ties her for the fifth-most in a single game in Indiana history.